Other Voices: It pays for Doolittle to have so many friends
In a SacBee interview (2/26/06), Congressman Doolittle explains his friendship with Jack Abramoff: “And when you have a friend who was a lobbyist like that and liked you, he was able to procure quite a bit of support for you from the clients he represented. So I was in the fortunate position then of benefiting from his friendship and his willingness to help me.” So that means it is really just a case of friends helping friends without anyone expecting anything in return.
To probe the extent of this “friendship” between Doolittle and Abramoff and others, I reviewed 54 news articles written over the past six months concerning Abramoff, Congressman Doolittle, and various Indian Tribes. The articles were printed in The Union, Sacramento Bee, Sierra Sun, Auburn Journal, LA Times, Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune.
Here are some examples of friends helping friends, from my review of the news articles:
In 1998, Doolittle singled out the Mississippi Choctaw Tribe for special praise in the Congressional Record. A casino-owning tribe, the Choctaws have contributed $19,000 to Doolittle’s PAC since 2002 (SacBee, 2/19/06).
In 2001, Doolittle inserted into the Congressional Record 111 pages of evidence from an ongoing investigation by the FDIC into activities of Charles Hurwitz and the collapse of a Texas savings and loan. This action essentially torpedoed the government’s case. Hurwitz later donated $7,000 to Doolittle’s re-election campaigns (LA Times, 1/8/06).
In 2002, Doolittle signed a letter urging rejection of a Louisiana Indian casino even as he collected contributions from competing casino-owning tribes, Abramoff, or his associates. Doolittle received a total of $64,500 both shortly before and after he signed the letter (SacBee, 12/2/05).
In 2003, Doolittle wrote letters in support of an Indian tribe in Iowa and an Indian tribe in Massachusetts. Both were seeking federal recognition so they could open casinos. The Iowa tribe contributed $5,000 in campaign money in 2004 (The Union, 1/30/06).
In 2005, Doolittle voted to weaken House ethics rules to allow Tom Delay to keep his speaker’s seat while under investigation by the Texas State Attorney General. Doolittle received $19,375 from Delay’s ARMPAC (DCCC.org, 1/17/06).
Doolittle contributed $10,000 to Tom Delay’s legal defense fund from his Leadership PAC to help his friend defend a Texas money-laundering indictment (Sierra Sun, 12/7/05).
Since 1999, Doolittle has received a total of $140,000 from Abramoff, his associates, and Indian tribes (SacBee, 11/30/05).
In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, 67 members of Congress are returning over $548,000 given to them by Abramoff, his associates, and various Indian tribes (SacBee, 1/6/06). Doolittle plans to keep all of the $134,000 he received from these sources (SacBee, 1/24/06).
The president of Defense Contractor ADCS in San Diego, along with associates, and the ADCS PAC contributed $46,000 to Doolittle’s Leadership PAC during the 2003 2004 funding cycle (Auburn Journal, 12/26/05).
Doolittle helped win earmarks in Defense Appropriation bills for $37 Million to go to Perfect Wave Technologies LLC in San Diego. Doolittle received $85,000 in the years 2002 – 2005 (SacBee, 1/27/06, 2/11/06).
Doolittle’s PAC pays a commission of 15 percent of total receipts to Julie Doolittle’s company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions (SacBee, 1/6/06). In the past three years, she has earned over $136,000 fundraising for Doolittle’s PAC (The Union, 1/7/06).
Doolittle opposes any lobbyist or redistricting reforms proposed by his peers. His goal is a GOP controlled government, to keep the GOP in control of Congress (The Union, 9/3/05, 1/24/06). In my opinion, this will lead to GOP districts, a GOP Congress, a GOP President, a GOP Judiciary and will result in a GOP Dictatorship.
I think Doolitttle has carried his brand of friendship with lobbyists and others beyond the bounds of propriety. While his actions may not be “improper” in a legal sense they raise serious moral and ethical questions in my mind. As we well know, in politics perception is everything.
It is mind-boggling how valuable these friendships are between individuals, lobbyists, corporations, and our congressmen and their PACs. From 1999 through 2005, $2.9 billion went to Republicans and $1.5 billion went to Democrats (Center for Responsive Politics).
Before long we will end up with a government by the lobbyists, of the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists – a far cry from what the framers of our Constitution had intended.
During all of 2005, Doolittle raised $531,024 (SacBee, 2/2/06). Pay attention voters in Congressional District 4 – Doolittle’s war chest is bulging and he wants to be your friend. Are your votes for sale?
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